Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

All education is a form of indoctrination. When you teach a kid to read you are indoctrinating them, but you do so with the assumption that if you don't teach them to read they will be worse off. So you indoctrinate them. As we all go through life people are interacting making similar judgement calls based on time, place and circumstance. So indoctrination in that regard is omnipresent and has a good side. Sorry to be off topic but I felt like typing that. I agree that we should fight our shallow inclinations to sensationalize in ways that diffuse "robust" learning.



No, and I'll give you my distinction that separates education from indoctrination:

Education's goal is to teach you something so that you can then go on without them, thus why they teach a wider range of topics within a subject.

Indoctrination's goal is to make you dependent on the educator, thus why they focus on only their version of the subject and squash differing opinions using propaganda tactics.

For example, you don't have to go back to your highschool math teacher to use Algebra or back to your grade school to read something. You are independent and may never set foot in your school ever again, but can still do these things.

If you teach someone that Python is the one true language and use propaganda to make them want to use it, then they'll be dependent on that language and the community in order to write code. Even simpler is if you only teach them git and github then you've indoctrinated them into always needing github to share code.

Bad kinds of education are like History classes that teach fairy tales like "George Washington never told a lie." These are indoctrination masquerading as education because they make the student dependent on the country for their identity.

The reason indoctrination like this is bad in programming though is because programming languages and tools die all the time, and when they do it destroys these people the indoctrinators have made dependent on the technologies. It also smacks of a con that's covering for shit technology that can't survive on its own merits.

Finally, finding a particular topic in the gray area between them does not disprove that there's a difference. Rational people don't think in binary, so this is a continuum where you could find some topics that require a bit of indoctrination, and some where it's the complete wrong approach. In my opinion, programming education only has indoctrination because that lets shitty technology hide behind propaganda.


I agree that everyone should strive for the intent and ideals you're talking about (IE not making people dependent etc) But I still hold to my view in terms of the definitions.I think indoctrination is like social order, to a certain degree it is inescapable and inherently part and parcel to learning anything involving reading and writing. But I complete agree with the ideals you believe we should all strive for and the methodology etc. I do think there is a staunch distinction between the indoctrination of people learning through the state or a church or whatever, and the more interpersonal empathetic methodology of teaching with an intent to facilitate independence. The irony is most staunch ideologues would probably agree, then go off and completely contradict it with their actions :). Around and around we go...


Wikipedia says it in the first paragraph: "(Indoctrination) is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned."

Zed is specifically referring to this usage. You should never assume you are doing the Right Thing in programming, because you probably aren't, at best you're doing the "least wrong" thing for your situation.


I still hold that education (insofar as it includes reading and writing) no matter how you cut it is a form of indoctrination. I understand the common sentiment behind the ideal difference and Zed's words, but I also think that no matter what you learn you are expected to a certain degree not to be critical since by default (when learning something new) you usually don't have the slightest idea what to even be critical about at that point. I just think the notion that there is a demarcation between the two is not true.So using your own programming analogy, I think the goal of education should be to strive for "less bad" of an indoctrination.


I'd say education is teaching to ask questions; indoctrination teaching to accept answers.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: